Murder in Duplicate: Fran Orenstein
Fear is an emotion caused by impending danger, evil or even pain. Sometimes the threat can be in a person’s mind or at times real. Feeling helpless, not being able to meet a deadline, afraid you will wind up alone can all elicit some kind of fear. Your sixth sense can kick in and you feel apprehensive when around someone but you have no idea why. You panic when things that are planned take a different turn or you even fear just being around someone but you have no idea why.
The conductor of an orchestra rehearses with the members of his orchestra making sure that every note; every beat and each movement of the symphony that will be played is performed in perfect precision. The first violinist sets the tone as he/she raises her arms, positions the violin and helps tune the orchestra to make sure their instruments will play at a perfect pitch. But, sometimes things go wrong and what is carefully created, planned, conceived or constructed just might not happen. A finger can slip, a string can break and the entire performance takes on a totally different dynamic.
A young girl wanders the streets alone in the middle of the night. Thin, shivering for lack of a warm covering this young girl emerges into the “diffused yellow beam of a yellow street light.” The middle of night where streets are darkened, stores locked up and robbers hopefully not out, this young girl filled with pain within her body walks alone and prays for her life. Who is this fragile person and what happens to her will bring the police to the home of her mother. The incident will bring chills down your spine and the reality of the situation will make you wonder just how cruel some people can be. Moving forward to the present we meet Lily Aaron an editor for a magazine by day and a romance/mystery writer by night. You might say she is a woman of two personalities and two lives. The first requires she edits and reads many manuscripts hoping to help aspiring new authors. The second is her passion and has brought her great success but only to herself and publisher. Lily Aaron does not want anyone to know her other identity hoping to create enough secret fame but not make it public.
Coffee is the passion of most people in the morning and entering the Java Café this particular day would change Lily’s world. Sometimes we do not realize that scenes in our life have been created and orchestrated by others to perfection just like the conductor who hopes that the orchestra will meet his expectations when playing their symphony.
Did you ever see someone across a crowded room and hope that your eyes will meet and something wonderful will happen? Lily or her alter ego Lilyann Allon, had a great imagination. People fascinated her and watching them in this café she envisioned many as the main character of her next novel. Taken by the appearance of a gorgeous man Lily becomes so distracted by her fantasy and her thoughts she trips over her own words when it is her turn to order. Ken Braun is the man she was oogling. What she did not know is that he was watching her carefully and had his own thoughts and plans for Lily. Entering her office, greeting the people that were there she fished out her ID met her fellow editor and friend Tory for their morning gossip session. But, this would be the beginning of an unusual day that although starting off a little strange at the café would be nothing compared to the events to come.
Work is supposed to be your safe haven but when Ted Warren is hired to work at this magazine and begins paying attention to Lily she becomes fearful, uncomfortable and wishes he would disappear. His disheveled appearance make her cringe, his demeanor and countenance repulsive and his social skills way below par. Just who was this person and what was his background were questions many would asked but few would get the answers. Fear, anxiety and an anxious feeling came over her every time she encountered Ted. Fear can take over your life and manipulate your actions as it did Lily’s. But, first there are others who enter her life and manipulate events without her knowledge.
As Ted was relentless in his pursuit of Lily he often called her by another name, Laurel. Why? Remains to be revealed. Lily felt sorry for him yet did not want him near her if possible and thought he might make a great character in one of her books. But, things were about to change as she gets to know Ken Braun and finds him totally desirable in many different ways.
Alison Pierce is like a second mother to Lily and tries to protect her from not only Ted’s advances but office gossip too. With her on her side and her parents living in Florida she feels lucky to have such a great support system in Alison. Things change two days later as Lily enters the Java Café and finally gets her wish and has coffee with Mr. Gorgeous. But, was this planned on his part of just fate? The chemistry between them is quite electric and her fantasies as described so graphically and vividly by the author would make anyone’s mouth water and want to be in the same room as this man. Dinner with him would start the ball rolling and many other romantic evenings too. But, something happens that will change it all as Lily falls hard for Ken, never hears the conversations that he has when alone and never bothers to thoroughly investigate who he is and where he came from. But, when looking deeper into Ted’s life she gets a superficial overview but how she gets the information is so creative and so clever only author Fran Orenstein can write a scene so filled with suspense, humor and heart stopping moments.
The relationship between Lily and Ken flourishes and her caper goes unnoticed until something happens to Ted and she is the prime suspect. When Lily is questioned by the police things start to shift for her and Ken comes to her aid with a defense lawyer named Carol. Lily’s life is turned upside down, her safety is compromised and many hidden truths are revealed. Just who is behind the murder of Ted and who is the best conductor in town? Will the strings of this orchestra be so taut that her nerves will be so tight, tense and her emotions strained? When her computer is taken, her office ransacked by the police and her life in tatters author Fran Orenstein hits readers with a twist so devious, so well planned that no orchestra leader could have created it with better precision. Will she be cleared? What about Ken? Will he be by her side? Image, appearance is everything when deciding to date someone. How many of us look past the outer exterior to find the real person? Murder in Duplicate: Some things should not be copied! Fears: Don’t let it win!
Characters that are so well developed and a story line that is fast paced, true to life and definitely will teach both teens and young adults to be more vigilant when dating someone they just met. Friendships and loyalties are tested as Lily faces this struggle and learns that sometimes what we think we see is not really what is there. This is a definite must read for all singles. Will Lily be able to save herself before it’s too late? Find out when you read this book and the explosive surprise ending.
Fran Lewis: reviewer